Southern Cross Novel Competition 2012

As posted on Kiwi Writers.

Greetings fellow Kiwi Writers. By now most of you would have started your SoCNocs or HalfNocs. If you haven’t, don’t worry, it’s not too late to start.

This is my first time participating in SoCNoc. My first time writing a novel in fact. You don’t need a fancy degree to write a story. Or a certificate in a Master writing class. You only need the discipline to sit in your chair and make the words come out.

I have tried several strategies to make sure I’m focused and unwavering. Of course none of it is foolproof. Your body will have its way if you let it.

First up…

* Go Fullscreen.

I assume most of you are using computers to write your SocNocs. For those of you sticking to a typewriter or perhaps pen and paper, I commend your bravery. There are various free software packages that will let you do this with ease, but again I’m guessing most of you will be using Microsoft Word. However going fullscreen in Word is a little more tricky. Here are the steps for Microsoft Word 2007:

1. Open Word. Press Alt + V and then Alt + U. Remember these shortcuts for future use. Press Esc to exit.
2. But that pesky Taskbar is still distracting you with the allure of the Internet. Right click on the Taskbar.
3. Click Properties.
4. Uncheck the box ‘Keep the Taskbar on top of other windows’.
5. And there you have it. An annoying but sometimes necessary procedure to trick your brain into actually working for once.

* Commit to a schedule.

While the weekends are mostly up for grabs your weekdays are likely to be rather similar. You get up, get ready for work or school. Spend the day at work or school. Come home and cook dinner, do some chores, unwind. But where can we fit in that blasted writing?

For me I like to do it as soon as I come home from work. I change clothes. Grab a few snacks and pop straight into it. Sometimes the words don’t come. Sometimes you’re left staring at a blinking cursor. But the key is to just sit there and take it. The words will come. Eventually.

Have a time and place for writing. The more you do it at that same consistent time, the quicker your mind will adapt and let you chuck on that writing cap.

That’s my advice for the long month ahead. Hop to it folks. Remember it’s only a month, you can take it. Do not doubt yourself. Do not surrender. Just write. Write until your fingers bleed. Write until you start hearing voices. Show that keyboard who’s boss.

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